The possible payout facing the operator of P2P file-sharing service LimeWire has been limited to between $7.5 million and $1.5 billion of "statutory" damages by U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood. LimeWire was facing the liability of damages of possibly trillions of dollars for copyright infringement, resulting from LimeWire users downloading free music files from the popular P2P file-sharing service.
The RIAA and recording labels were looking for one "award" for each of the labels per infringing song that was downloaded by LimeWire users, but Judge Kimba Wood agreed with Lime Group LLC that the 13 recording labels deserve only one award for the group overall per work infringed.
This still leaves LimeWire open to billions of dollars instead of trillions of dollars, so the price tag is still steep. That said, Judge Wood called the idea of paying trillions of dollars "absurd" in her statement, citing that that is more money than has been made in the recording industry since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph. Good point.
LimeWire had been shut down last year as a result of the court case in which Judge Kimba Wood ruled that LimeWire and Mark Gorton had committed copyright infringement, engaged in unfair competition and induced users to commit copyright infringement with the software.
LimeWire users could search for music and other content via the Bittorrent and Gnutella networks. By some counts, LimeWire had as many as 50 million users in its heyday. This represented another blow for so-called "freeloaders," as users who seek out free but unauthorized downloads on the Internet are sometimes called. The shut down of both Pirate Bay and OiNK essentially offered the same blow.
LimeWire later made a comeback online, resurrected by an unknown group. They were calling it LimeWire Pirate Edition.